April 27, 2017

What are the legal rights of a Deliveroo cyclist?

cycle courier deliveroo

The Deliveroo scene appears to be getting bigger and bigger at a rapid rate. Groups of couriers waiting for their next job can be seen at all hours in many of our city centres, and the business appears to be thriving. But what if you are considering riding for them?

Deliveroo state that their riders are free to work to their own availability. The rate of pay appears to differs depending on geographical location and time-slot, and these riders only need a bike, relevant safety equipment and to be eligible to work in the UK.

As a passionate cyclist it’s easy to see why this job would appeal to so many riders in the city; flexible hours, lots of exercise, and getting paid to cycle around the city. However, from my perspective, as a solicitor who specialises in accidents involving cyclists, anyone who is considering riding for a courier company needs to consider a few things:

Many couriers are self-employed. How does this affect things?

Employees receive certain benefits that self employed do not. These include but are not limited to; sick pay, paid annual leave, redundancy payments, pension benefits and possibly private healthcare. As a self employed courier you are your own boss and therefore in a different position. This basically means that unless you are paying for insurance to cover you in the event of an accident at work, you are more vulnerable than employees in such circumstances.

What happens if a bicycle courier gets injured?

If a Deliveroo cyclist is injured whilst at work, they may not be entitled to any pay for the time that they are unable to work. Nor could they be covered for damage to their equipment or treatment costs. This is because they are, technically, self-employed.

Given the nature of the work and the self-employed basis of the role, this has the potential to place courier riders in a precarious position in terms of their income should they be unfortunate enough to be involved in a cycling or motorcycle accident.

It is important for couriers to know that if they are unable to work because of injuries sustained as a result of a cycling accident, they may be entitled to pursue a claim against another party for 1) their pain, suffering and loss of amenity and 2) the financial losses they suffer as a consequence of the accident.

It is important to be able to prove the losses by providing evidence of pre-accident pay and the cost of repairing or estimating the market value of the damaged bike.

What happens if a cyclist injures someone else, or damages a vehicle?

If a cyclist crashes into someone’s car, or collides with a pedestrian then they may find themselves liable for the cost (if they were at fault). In such a situation, a self-employed courier would probably be personally responsible (unlike an employee who might be covered by their employer). However, in these circumstances there are other things to consider.

For example, a company can be held liable if there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the cyclist’s actions were being performed in the course of this job for the business. Furthermore, as couriers are paid by the job, the company paying them is arguably rewarding the riders who cycle quickly and therefore (potentially) place themselves and others in danger. It is important to stress however that this is not a simple case, there are many variables at play and in situations like these it could go as far as being decided by the courts.


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